Medicare Part D: A Look at the Future of Healthcare in America

“Many seniors are unaware that they can be saving hundreds of dollars every year by choosing a different drug plan, because there are entirely too many choices for them to navigate,” says Yaniv Hanoch, lead author of a recently published survey on Medicare Part D and lecturer at the University of Plymouth, School of Psychology, Plymouth, U.K. “The system should limit choice and empower its beneficiaries to make informed and cost-effective decisions about their prescription drug plan.”
Authors of this survey suggest some very simple but powerful changes to the Part D program: standardize the benefit; keep the number of plans down to ten or less.
“Making Part D easier for seniors to navigate should be part of the administration’s and Congress’ efforts to reform health care,” says Thomas Rice, co-author and professor of health services in the UCLA School of Public Health. “When it comes to Medicare Part D, research shows that seniors prefer less choice and more government intervention.”
Viewing consumer perceptions and ideas about Medicare Part D offers unique insights into the larger issue of healthcare reform because Part D is an entirely "free-market" based program offered by the federal government. Having been in place for over four years now, the benefits and criticism of the program are based on practical experience rather than political hype. As we all look through this lens to the rockbed foundation of healthcare reform in America, a couple of things seem evident. First, people want choice but not too much choice. Second, a majority of people want at least one option to be purchasing a plan directly from the government. Third, healthcare reform is going to happen, and fairly soon.